My book, The Culture of Empowerment, is now an audiobook! We are so excited to have this book available in this new format. You can find more information on how to listen here.
A culture of empowerment starts with empowering beliefs about ourselves. If we don’t empower ourselves, it will be difficult to empower others.
The two main sources of disempowering beliefs in our lives are past experiences and feelings. We don’t deny our past or our feelings, but we cannot get our beliefs from them. They are the arguments and high things of 2 Corinthians 10:5 that will create negative strongholds in our lives if we don’t bring them into captivity to the victory and identity we have in Christ.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
When I was born again as a 19-year-old, I would only believe I was saved when I felt saved. If I went to church on Sunday feeling discouraged or weighed down by temptation or doubt, I would respond to another altar call to get saved again just to make sure.
This went on for a while until the Lord spoke to my heart saying, “I have good news for you. You are saved even when you don’t feel saved.”
I thought, “That is amazing! I thought feelings were the highest indicator of truth there was.”
Even after hearing this, I would still want to respond to salvation altar calls when I didn’t feel saved, but I heard this: “Steve, do not go down there. Stay in your seat. When you believe you are saved, you will start feeling saved.” Good feelings follow good beliefs.
In my wife Wendy’s book, Victorious Emotions, she says feelings don’t validate truth, they just validate what we believe to be true. This is an important insight for us. If we want a different emotion, we will need a different belief. “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing” (Romans 15:13). The emotions of hope, joy, and peace increase as we believe the truth instead of lies.
My decision to believe I was saved when I did not feel saved was greater spiritual warfare than if I had rebuked the devil for 30 minutes. It was high-level warfare.
We also activate this stronghold-demolishing warfare when:
We believe we are strong in times we feel weak
We believe we are righteous when we feel unrighteous
We believe we are anointed when we don’t feel anointed
We believe we are influential when we don’t feel influential
We believe we courageous when we don’t feel courageous
We believe we are healed when we don’t feel healed
We believe our actions are significant when they don’t feel significant
Transformation happens when we renew our minds with truths higher than what we are feeling and experiencing. We don’t deny the facts of our experience, but we believe in truths higher than the facts. Certainly, focusing on our beliefs is not the only thing we do to see breakthrough and increase, but it is one of the most important priorities we can have.
Note: Right now at Igniting Hope Ministries, we are working on our beliefs training curriculum. We plan to give certificates for those who have completed our beliefs training course (currently in development), and we plan to certify belief trainers through Igniting Hope. As part of this, we have a belief trainer on our staff with whom you can schedule belief training appointments. We are also experimenting with daily belief workouts. A key goal of these workouts is to pinpoint the beliefs beneath our negative feelings as they surface. As we push against this emotional resistance with the truth about our identity and truth from God’s promises, we will develop the belief muscles necessary to walk in victory and have a great load-bearing capacity. Feel free to experiment with this and send us your feedback, thoughts, or ideas for belief workouts.
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Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.